The Flare Before Christmas…

Hello Friends!

Just before Christmas we had an awful cold snap. I remember waking up that morning feeling incredibly stiff and dejected. I knew what was coming. It’s much easier to see the signs when you have been through something multiple times. Unfortunately, this particular flare was very painful. It reminded me of just before my diagnosis. It was such an awful feeling! I remember the feeling of complete dread knowing that I couldn’t stop it and that this could ruin my plans to go to see our VA family. Β (Thankfully, it did not!)

So how did I get through it?

*I made sure to take all of my meds every day.

*I ate my safe flare foods for three days straight so I could enjoy my Christmas meals that I had carefully planned.

*I took 1 tsp of baking soda with water to help with the acidity in foods. It tastes horrible, but it helps! (I have since added to more supplements to my regimen and I’ll be sharing soon about those!) If you are on a low sodium diet, this is not the answer for you!

*I also took Prelief with every meal.

*I didn’t remember to do them every day, but I tried to incorporate my stretches to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles.

* I used a heating pad before my stretches.

*I wore pj bottoms/leggings. (Loose clothing is best when in the throes of a flare!)

*I lowered my expectations and made sure to institute quiet time every day.

The last one was key for me. I had a few activities planned that I had to drop in order to feel up to the trip ahead of me. This has been difficult for me, but it honestly gets easier with time. It becomes so much more important to be fully invested in moments with family than using that time and energy to invest in activities that you have added to your list that (may be important), but are not necessarily more important than your quality time with those you love. This is something that I have to continue to practice because it’s very natural for me to want to go above and beyond for my family. I want to make everything special, but sometimes the special moments are made when we are just together. You can’t carefully orchestrate a special moment. It doesn’t work that way!

Another thing that I’ve learned from my experiences with IC is that there are many causes to flares and usually it’s hard to tell why. (If you can figure out what happened, that’s great! You may be able to use specific therapies to help shorten your flare time.) The best thing to do is do NOT panic. Stress can cause flares and it can also make flares worse. It’s a vicious cycle. So be aware! I hope these tips are helpful for my fellow IC warriors/sisters!

<3 Anna

Friday Finds and Favorites #57

Β Hello Friends!

The New Year has me excited about several things, but I’ll try to keep this post to a minimum. πŸ˜‰ I love getting a fresh start at a New Year. I know many people create New Year’s resolutions and don’t always stick to them, but I feel that life is what you make it. Maybe that wasn’t the best resolution for you or maybe you weren’t ready to complete it…Who knows? The point is that you shouldn’t dwell on it in February when so many are ditching their goals. Perhaps you could use that time to create a more obtainable goal or you could shift to a word for your year. There is also the camp that just doesn’t make resolutions. They’ve failed in the past and don’t want to deal with that frustration again…This is understandable as well. Whatever camp you are from, don’t let the details bog you down. Find a way to make this year a good one for growth and learning!

On to my picks for the week! For my first two picks, I’m sharing two websites that are helping me with my New Year’s goals.

  1. Check out Healthy Habits Happy Moms!Β 

    I’m not doing everything from this challenge, but I’m using it as a guide for exercise, dietary suggestions, and self care. Β The main reason I’m not participating in every activity is because I can’t do more strenuous workouts. I’m currently focusing more on yoga and walks for exercise.

  2. The 2017 Read Harder Book Challenge!

I’ve mentioned this a few times. So I won’t go into deep detail, but if you are interested in broadening your reading list this year, then you should definitely check out this challenge.

And to end this post on a cute note, I’ll share a few pics of Sasha and my new leggings. πŸ˜‰

Now it’s your turn! Grab a button (optional!) and link up your posts with your favorite finds and memories of the week!



HAPPY Weekend! Everyone be safe and stay warm! πŸ™‚

<3 Anna

Saying Farewell to 2016!

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your families had a great Christmas! I want to wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year! Today, I want to share my last post of 2016 activities. 2016 wasn’t a great year, but I’m happy that we were able to end it on a good foot.

On Christmas Eve, we had a lunch of Cornish Game hens, homemade macaroni and cheese, rolls, and brussel sprouts with bacon. I worked on lots of baking for the holidays and we enjoyed watching Christmas movies as well. Every Christmas Eve, we open one present which contains new pjs and comfy socks or slippers. We had peanut butter cookies for dessert. Yum!

We also had a hot cocoa bar. (We started this tradition last Christmas.)

Christmas Eve hot cocoa bar.

My sweet bug! <3

Christmas Morning is always exciting in the Leviner household and many households with littles. πŸ˜‰ Declan was very eager to see his Christmas gifts. He received several books, two new movies, a Dr’s unform/kit, a trumpet, a music play mat, and Legos. He also received many goodies in his stocking. Stockings have always been my favorite. πŸ˜‰

Christmas morning excitement!

Declan wasn’t the only one excited that morning! Sophie loves Christmas and loves receiving goodies in her stocking. Sasha also received a scratching post and two containers of kitty snacks. πŸ™‚ (She just isn’t a fan of getting her picture taken. ;))

Christmas morning with my loves!

Dr. Declan was on call.

We ended the day with a delicious Tri-colore Pork loin with apples and potatoes and Patti Sweet Potato pie. (Be sure to go to Walmart and get one next year! They are so good and taste like you made them from scratch! ;))

Our church had our Christmas service the Friday before Christmas on Christmas Eve Eve. It was a beautiful message reminding us of God’s love for us and messages from our church always remind me that we are the hands and feet of Christ and that we can be used by God for a much higher purpose. We need only to listen and be a willing vessel.

The next morning, we left for VA and had Christmas with John’s extended family the first night. We had a dirty Santa exchange and I got a beautiful picture frame (Much needed!) and a gift card. John received a nice thermos set. I’m sad that I didn’t get any pictures during our visit with John’s Dad and stepmom. My phone was very dead during that time and service is terrible in that area. :/ We enjoyed quality time with family, many tasty meals, and wonderful gifts. I received some cozy socks and new necklace and Declan got a fun dinosaur, movie, and nightly devotional from his Granddaddy and Grammy. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember what John received.

On Wednesday, we headed to John’s mom and stepdad’s house. We met the Hershman crew at a very busy Chic fil a for lunch. It was so great to see them and catch up. We are hopeful that we will see them again later this year! The kiddos had a blast on the play place. Declan didn’t want to leave, hence, his face in this pic. πŸ˜€

Nonna and Papa gave Declan a Peanuts comforter set, workbooks, a Brain Quest phonics book, a Jake book, and a new Thomas movie. I received several beautiful jewelry pieces and John received a Legos set to play with D and new shirts.

We had a great visit! We played Uno, watched movies, and just enjoyed time together. John’s friend Dean joined us for some of the festivities. Did I say it was a great visit?! πŸ˜‰

My boy

D playing in the leaves.

On our last morning, there was a dusting of snow on the ground and we were able to see snow flurries. There is just something so peaceful about watching snow fall. I’m thankful I was given some peaceful moments to sit and watch. Declan was hoping the snow would stick, but sadly, it did not. He decided to improvise and play in the great leaves in Nonna and Papa’s yard.

Sophie had a blast playing in the leaves too!

We love our VA family so much and was so thankful to see everyone! We missed seeing Michael, Rebecca, and our beautiful niece, Abby. Β (As always, we missed sweet Oron.)

Declan’s thoughts on the New Year.

We arrived home on New Year’s Eve. Poor D was so tired that he fell asleep just before 7:30 and didn’t wake up until the next morning! John and I enjoyed good food and a classic New Year’s Frasier episode. We went to bed around 10:30/11:00 because we are old and tired. We woke at 1:00 am because Sasha was crying wanting to get into our bedroom where she is prohibited. We shared a belated New Year’s kiss and went back to bed.

How was your Christmas? Holidays? New Years? Sound off in the comments below. I always love hearing from my readers. πŸ™‚

<3 Anna

New Year. New Word. January Goals 2017.

Hello Friends!

This year I thought that choosing a word for the year would be a tough decision, but it wasn’t really that difficult. This is a word that I need to give myself more of in the new year. Grace. GraceΒ is such a beautiful word. My favorite song has always been Amazing Grace. I want to do better at giving myself grace and extending grace to others. I have high hopes for the new year, but I’ll need a lot of grace to accomplish and push forward on the hard days. My health will present challenges and will try to push me down, but I will always remember to get up because of Grace. Each day I pray for grace to parent my son and grace to get through the day ahead. Some days that looks like me accomplishing so many things and others it looks like me accomplishing one or two small things and then curling up in the bed with my heating pad. Regardless of what each day looks like, I’ll have grace to accomplish what I can and I’ll learn to find joy in each day no matter what my to-do list looks like.

  1. Do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017.

I heard about the Read Harder Challenge at the tail end of 2016 and was bummed that I hadn’t heard about it sooner. I knew that I must participate for the 2017 year. This challenge is so great because it encourages readers to choose books in different categories that you wouldn’t otherwise read. Once the challenge is posted I’ll add the graphic here and I hope you all will join me! πŸ™‚

2. Begin volunteering with local retirement community.

I began correspondence with a retirement facility near my home. I’m hoping to hear back from the volunteer coordinator soon. (This goal is part of a much bigger goal that I’m really excited to share about very soon!)

3. Β Begin incorporating yin yoga and other stretches into my lifestyle as I work towards solutions to help with my muscle tension.

I was very happy to discover a set of stretches that I can do every day (even on my bad days). I’m now ready to add exercise back to my life and have heard wonderful things about Yin Yoga. I also recently discovered a kid friendly yoga channel that I’m very eager to try with D. He loves watching me do my stretches and often tries to imitate, so I know he is ready for this! πŸ˜‰

4.Β I think I’ve mentioned this one before, but I’ll be revealing a new addition to the blog very soon. I don’t want to give too much away, but Etsy Shop is a clue. πŸ˜‰ I’m looking forward to going LIVE with this later this month.Β 

So those are my goals for the new year. I hope that your final days of 2016 were filled with wonderful memories and that you are pumped for the new year! I’ll be sharing our Christmas post on Wednesday so stay tuned!

What is your word for 2017? What are your goals for January? How will you achieve your goals? Do you feel that having a word makes things less overwhelming?

<3 Anna

Friday Finds and Favorites #56

Hello all!

Today, I wanted to share with you an awesome app that our local library uses. Β It’s called hoopla and you are given 5 titles that you are allowed to borrow per month. You can borrow videos, music, eBooks, and audio books. I’ve started borrowing audio books and have really enjoyed using this app. Be sure to check with your local library and see if they use this app as well. πŸ™‚

What are your favorite finds and moments of this week. Share in the comments below! Don’t forget to grab a button (optional) and link up below!




<3 Anna

Homeschooling Happenings! Lesson 10: K is for King David and King Soloman

Hello all!

It’s been a little harder staying the in the groove with the holidays on the way, but it helps to just work around them and being flexible is key! ***Hopefully, this problem before this post goes live, but I was unable to upload pics for this post. πŸ™ ***

This week we focused on:

Theme: “K” is for King David and King Soloman

Letter: K

Number: 5

Day 1

Read about King David.

D worked on his Christmas Sticker book.

Teach K sound.

Look for #5.

Day 2

Read King David Psalms.

Add #5 to number line.

ReadΒ Dick and JaneΒ books. My grandmother purchased two Dick and Jane collection sets for D. These books are great for beginning readers.

D began his new chore chart this week! It has worked very well so far! He enjoys earning money to spend when we visit The Dollar Tree. πŸ˜‰

Day 3

Read King Soloman.

Review Letter K.

We made patterns with jewels.

Day 4

Read the story of Elijah.

We brainstormed rhyming words with King.

We added K to the treasure map.

We continued working on our Christmas cards for the grandparents.

The curriculum that we use only goes through Thursday, so Friday is more of a laid back day. We usually read through a Highlights magazine and do some pages in our Brain Quest Workbook. ?

What are you and your kiddo(s) working on this week?

<3 Anna

Remembering to Give Back during this Season and Beyond! :)

Hello Friends!

This is such a wonderful time of the year! It’s a time of gratitude and remembering to give back. This is one of my favorite posts to write each year because I think it’s so very important to get our kiddo(s) involved as early as possible. Each year that passes, D is able to participate even more than the previous year and it’s exciting to watch him learn and understand the importance of giving to others.

The following are just a few ideas of how you and your family can give back this holiday season:

  1. Operation Christmas Child (This has already happened, but there is always next year!)
  2. Donate to your local library.
  3. Donate to your local Humane Society.
  4. Make cookies for your neighbors and mail man.
  5. Put money in the red kettle for the Salvation Army bucket.
  6. Sing Christmas carols at your local retirement home.
  7. Leave $ in Dollar Tree toy aisle to brighten a kiddo(s) day!
  8. Buy new coloring books and crayons for hospital or doctor’s waiting room.
  9. Pick up litter in your neighborhood.
  10. Serve at a soup kitchen at Christmas.

This is all wonderful, but what about the other days of the year? Why limit this to one specific time of year. D and I found this wonderful idea and it’s a great reminder to remember others throughout the year!

We decorated a box on St. Nicholas Day. This box is to remind D to remember to be giving no matter what day of the year it is. It really touched my heart when he immediately ran to his room and added his Chic-fil-a cow to the box. <3

What are you doing to remind your little(s) that it is better to give than it is to receive?

<3 Anna

Merry Christmas 2016!

Hello Friends!

I’m so excited to share our pictures from our Christmas/D’s 4 year photo shoot today! These pictures were taken by Karlee Kirby. (You can learn more about her and her budding photography business here!)

Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Stay tuned for the last three posts of the year!!!

<3 Anna

Friday Finds and Favorites #55 The Leviner Family Christmas Wish List (Mommy, Daddy, and the Fur babies!)

Hello Friends!

Today, I'm sharing our wish lists for me, John, and our fur babies. If you are interested in seeing D's list---You can check it out here! Please note that all of the items listed are either for fun and or have already been purchased. ;) Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. <3


Play Station subscription– I hope this is a good link. I enjoy playing the old school games, but I know next to nothing about this newer stuff. πŸ˜‰

Forza Horizon 3– What can I say? The husband loves these racing games. Declan enjoys watching the crashes, so it’s a win for both of my guys. πŸ˜‰


Leggings- I absolutely loved the pair of leggings I got from this website. They are crazy comfortable and incredible for my chronic pain. No more jeans! (The only reason I’m not sharing a pic is because I wore them in my Christmas pics and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.) I’ll be sharing our Christmas pics on the blog very soon! <3

A pair of black boots. I have a brown pair in this style, but would love to have this black pair I found at Kohls and my mom gave us a Kohls gift card, so I’m hoping to spend it soon! πŸ™‚

We also both are very excited about our family Christmas and Christmas with our extended family in VA!


Sophie loves to get special treats in her stocking! πŸ™‚

She will be happy to see these treats and some balls for exercise!


Sasha needs a new scratching post.

She will also enjoy some kitty treats in her stocking as well. πŸ˜‰

Now it’s your turn to link up your favorite finds and moments of this past week! You can also grab a button (optional!) and be sure to stop by my co-host’s blog and say hi!




So that’s it for the Leviner family! Β What fun item is on your Christmas list?

<3 Anna

Homeschooling Happenings! Lesson 9: R is for Rock (David & Goliath)

Hello Friends!

We are very excited about the Christmas season and have so many fun activities planned!!! (You can check out all of our adventures on our IG account.) We will continue to do our lessons each week and then take a break for Christmas. So be sure to grab your favorite beverage and stay tuned each Wednesday for our HH posts! πŸ™‚ Β I didn’t get pics this week…whoops! :/

This week we focused on:

Theme: R is for Rock (David and Goliath)

Letter: r

Number: 4

Day 1

We read the story of David and Goliath.

We made a paper plate face of Goliath and stood on step stool to get an idea of how tall Goliath was.

We learned the letter sound for R.

We looked for the #4.

We learned how to sort silverware.

Day 2

We re-read the story of David and Goliath.

We gathered pom poms for the pouch.

We learned how to play rock, paper, scissors.

We add the #4 to the number line.

D reviewed how to unload dishwasher.

Day 3

We reviewed the story and used the pom poms and pouch to illustrate the story.

We learned to count by 5s and 10s. (This will be some that we continue to work on.)

We highlighted the letter “r” in a newspaper clipping.

Day 4

We added the R map piece to our map.

The curriculum that we use only goes through Thursday, so Friday is more of a laid back day. We usually read through a Highlights magazine and do some pages in our Brain Quest Workbook.

We didn’t get to the library this week, but I will return with our library picks once we fit in our next visit!

Resources from these lessons:

Homeschooling Curriculum

What are you and your kiddo(s) working on this week? Share in the comments below!

<3 Anna